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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Blanchett wins top Venice award
Cate Blanchett
Blanchett is one of several actors to portray an aspect of Dylan's life
Cate Blanchett has been named best actress at the Venice Film Festival for her role in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There.

The actress has been hotly tipped to be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the Todd Haynes film.

Brad Pitt was named best actor for his role in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Ang Lee's Se, Jie (Lust, Caution) won the Golden Lion for best film - after his 2005 win with Brokeback Mountain.

Lee's sexually explicit thriller is set in Shanghai during World War II.

It tells the story of an idealistic young acting troupe who devise a plot to assassinate a Chinese official collaborating with the Japanese.

'Seven samurais'

Lee said he was dedicating his prize to Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director who died in July at age 89.

He told the audience at the ceremony that the film took him to some difficult places.

"I have invited you to come along with me and in the end to stay down there with me. You are the seven samurais, I needed your help," he said, addressing the jury.

Ang Lee
Ang Lee's film has been given an adult rating in the US
Neither Blanchett nor Pitt were at the awards ceremony but the actress sent a note of thanks.

"I'm sorry I can't stand here throwing my arms around Todd, weeping just like a woman," she said in a statement.

In I'm Not There, Blanchett is one of several actors to portray the singer Bob Dylan at various stages in his life. She plays the singer during his "folk-rock" years.

Director Haynes also went on to win a special jury prize for his film.

Last year's best actress winner at Venice, Dame Helen Mirren, went on to win an Academy Award for her leading role in The Queen.

'Great fun'

Brad Pitt and his partner Angelina Jolie grabbed the headlines when they arrived at the festival earlier in the week. But Pitt's best actor win for his portrayal of legendary outlaw Jesse James came as something as a surprise.

It was his co-star, Casey Affleck, who played James' killer Ford as a creepy social misfit, who had been widely expected to scoop the prize.

Pitt told reporters in Toronto, where his film was receiving its North American premiere: "I could try to play it down, but it's great fun.

"The nicest thing is how excited my friends are for me and to be amongst the lineage of people that have also been bestowed this honour. It's a really nice honour."

Brian De Palma won the 11-day-long festival's award for best direction for his hard-hitting Iraq war film Redacted.

The film shocked audiences in Venice with its brutal reconstruction of the real-life rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by US soldiers.

Other winners included British director Ken Loach. He took the award for best screenplay for his depiction of the exploitation of immigrants in the UK in It's a Free World.

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci was honoured with a special award for his career's work, which includes Last Tango in Paris, The Conformist and The Last Emperor, which won nine Academy Awards.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ang Lee accepts his Golden Lion award



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